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Making your own edibles is one of the best ways to enjoy old or sub-par cannabis, and it’s probably easier than you think! Here are some step-by-step directions for turning your mediocre bud into an intoxicating (or medicating) treat. You can use them to make cannabis oil of any kind, or even cannabutter.

QUESTION: I found an old bag of dried out weed behind my dresser when I was cleaning the other day. It’s too dry to smoke, so I’m going to try making some edibles with it. How do I do that?

Making your own edibles is a fun, do-it-yourself kind of way to consume cannabis. It’s an easy process, but there are a couple key steps to making sure you get the best experience possible. The first important step is to decarboxylate your cannabis, and the second step is to infuse it into oil.

The cannabis plant, in its raw or cured form, contains a lot of THC-A, but not much THC.  THC-A is the acid form of THC, and requires heat to convert to THC, a process known as decarboxylation.  THC-A does have some benefits, like its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, but it’s non-intoxicating, and must be converted into THC through decarboxylation before you’ll be able to feel any effects, like getting buzzed or high.

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 245°(F). 

There are many different recommendations for the best time and temperature to use for decarbing cannabis.  The chart below shows how the relationship between time and temp is connected.  I prefer to use a slightly lower temperature because the timing is a bit more forgiving than if I use a higher temp, which requires a very precise, shorter period of time.

Decarb Chart
Optimal cannabis decarboxylation can be achieved at a variety of temperatures

Step 2: Grind your cannabis.  

Coarsely grind your cannabis using a hand grinder, a pair of scissors, or your hands.  You don’t need the cannabis to be too fine, so save yourself some work and leave some chunks and big pieces.  If there are stems and leaves in your weed, leave them in because they also contain cannabinoids.

Step 3: Prep your baking dish. 

I usually use a 9×13 glass baking dish for this, but you could also use a ceramic casserole dish.  Evenly spread your cannabis over the bottom of the dish.  Wrap a couple sheets of aluminum foil tightly over the top of the dish to prevent anything from escaping during the heating process.  Heating the cannabis will create a LOT of smell, so you can place the entire dish inside a turkey bag and seal it up.  It won’t contain the smell entirely, but it’ll bring it down a notch.

Step 4: Bake the cannabis for 30-35 minutes.

I cook mine for 32 minutes, but ovens can vary.  Refer to the chart above if you want to experiment with your time and temperature.

Person opening an oven, a step in the process of how to make cannabis oil.
A crucial step in making cannabis oil, a person opening an oven for the decarboxylation process.

Step 5: Let it completely cool before you use or store it.

Once your time is up, remove the dish from the oven and leave it covered until the cannabis has completely cooled.  Once it’s cool, you can scrape it out of the dish.  Use or infuse it into oil within a couple weeks, or you can store it in the freezer for several months.  I don’t know exactly how long it will last in the freezer, but I’ve found no loss of potency after using decarbed weed that had been in the freezer for a couple years.

Step 6: Infuse it into oil or butter.

This is best done in a slow cooker, but you can also do it in a double boiler on the stove, set to a low to medium temperature. Put your decarbed weed into a large ceramic bowl or coffee mug, and cover it with oil. (Any oil works well, but coconut and avocado oil are two of my favorites.) Place the bowl into the slow cooker, and surround it with water. The water should go most of the way up the sides of the bowl. Turn the slow cooker on to the lowest setting, and cover it. You’re going to let it cook for 4-6 hours, giving the weed/oil mixture a stir every hour or so.

Step 7: Strain the plant matter from the oil.

Once the cook time is up, turn the slow cooker off, remove the bowl from the water, and let it cool down for at least an hour. (I wear rubber gloves for the next step.) When the oil is cool enough to handle, strain it using three to four layers of cheesecloth stretched over another bowl. Dump the weed/oil mixture into the cheesecloth, pulling the ends together to make a bundle. Use your hands to squeeze the oil out, catching it in a clean bowl. You will be able to see some particulates in the oil, so you can strain it again if you want.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Your oil is now ready to use. Drizzle it right on your food, add it to salad dressings, or bake some classic weed cookies with it. It’s hard to know exactly what your oil is dosed at, so start with a small dose, about one-half to one-teaspoon. Give yourself a couple hours to feel the effects before determining if you should take any more.